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“We are freaking out like retail is going away,” exclaimed Clark Briner, founder and president at Revere Capital, on the Capital Markets Update: What’s In Store for 2018 panel at RealShare Southern California. While there are a lot of headline about the failure of retail, Briner pointed out that the ratio is 90 to 10, and our brick and mortar presence isn’t going anywhere. The panel included speakers Michael Klein, co-Founder and CEO at Freedom Financial Funds; Bryan Shaffer, principal and managing director at George Smith Partners; and Zach Murphy, co-founder and managing director at Pender Capital, with moderator Marc Renard, managing director of capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield.

While it may be true that retail isn’t in as much trouble as the industry narrative suggests, Renard said that most of it is commodity retail, and it does warrant caution. He specifically said that B- and C-class malls are a tremendous concern from a capital markets and investment perspective. He wasn’t alone. Murphy said that in New York City—which tends to run ahead of economic shifts in other major markets—retail is in bad shape. “Retail in New York is a disaster. The vacancy is unbelievable,” he said on the panel, adding that there are vacancies everywhere and rates are falling as a result.

Klein, on the other hand, is focusing on retail. In fact, about half of his company’s business is retail. “You have to dig in and ask what kind of retail is it,” he said, acknowledging that there is “good” and “bad” retail in this market, and that much of the quality of the retail is based on location and the tenant mix. Consumers are shopping, but a lot of the traffic is driven by strong brands. “You have to look at competition at the center to understand what the tenant base would be. If it is a no-name retailer, I am not excited to finance that.”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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